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Adopt A Grandparent Aims To Warm Hearts
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Are you fortunate enough to have fond memories of your grandparents? Most can bring to mind a special cookie baking day with grandma or maybe the first hunting or fishing trip with grandpa. Those irreplaceable memories can bring a big smile to your face for sure. Perhaps you never knew your grandparents; yet one is waiting for you with outstretched arms. Now you have the opportunity to bring a big smile to the face of a grandparent.

Riverbank Cares, Westamerica Bank in Riverbank and O’Brien’s Market are joining forces again this holiday season to keep a tradition alive; Adopt a Grandparent.

For 10 years the community has visited O’Brien’s Market or the Westamerica Bank branch in Crossroads Shopping Center and found very special “ornaments” on the Christmas tree. They each contain information for a senior resident of the Riverbank Care Facility; their needs or wants are simple. Select the senior you want to adopt this holiday season, it is important to record your choice with the staff of the market or the bank. This will allow Santa to track these special people and make sure no one is left out. As you go about your holiday shopping, purchase the gifts and return them to the market or the bank, unwrapped, in a gift bag.

Gifts should be returned no later than Wednesday, Dec.12. It is important that the “ornament” be returned also since Santa has an official check off list. The gifts will be sorted and readied for delivery when the seniors will enjoy a holiday party.

The need seems to always greater than the previous year; more of our population is living longer and not equipped to care for themselves. The commitment from the community is vital in caring for each person, making sure Santa leaves no one off his list. Each of the partners plays a large part in the project and the community is needed more than ever to make this a success.

Carla Strong, former Riverbank Citizen of the Year, tells her story again this year.

“I’ve always had a soft spot for our elderly,” said Strong. “Working together with our community partners is fulfilling a desire I’ve long had, of letting our seniors know they are not forgotten. It is also a way of honoring my late husband, Jerry, who was my original inspiration for this project 11 years ago. Our elderly often spend long lonely days in nursing facilities where one day runs into another. My mother lived in NC and on many occasions spent the Christmas season in a care facility. Every day when I called, she would tell me how much it meant to have visitors. I would always hear a smile in her voice when she told me about the small gifts that appeared on her bedside table when she awoke, or returned from therapy. Someone had thought about her. It didn’t matter that it was a total stranger; it meant the world to her. I lost my mother and husband nine years ago so it is particularly important to me to continue this program.”

Strong added that it is amazing how small the requests are: lotion, a lap blanket, radio, coloring books, slippers or a bottle of perfume. Every effort is made to be sure that no one is forgotten and with the help of volunteers at the care facility the gifts are given out during their holiday gathering. For those who do not have time to do the shopping, cash donations are accepted and the organizers will do the shopping for you.

For additional information, contact Westamerica Bank at 209-869-2469 or stop by O’Brien’s Market in Riverbank.